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through the interest of his brother-in-law with Bishop Morley, in April 1669. At a proper age the young Izaak was removed to Christ Church, of which his father's friend, Dr Fell, was master ; 4 and in 1675, the year of the great Papal jubilee, Ken and his nephew visited Rome, Venice, and other parts of Italy; but the following passage in Cotton's treatise on fly-fishing shows that he returned early in the ensuing year. When asked by Venator, "if young Master Izaac Walton" had been at Beresford, Piscator replied, "Aye, marry has he, Sir! and that again and again too, and in France since, and at Rome, and at Venice, and I can't tell where; but I intend to ask him a great many hard questions so soon as I can sec him, which will be, God willing, next month." In March 1675-6, young Walton proceeded M.A. at Christ Church; and though the date of his ordination is not stated, it probably took place ahout that time; and the pleasure with which his aged father saw him enter upon his holy office may readily be conceived.
Some account of Walton's plans in the year 1676 occur in the fifth edition of "The Complete Angler," which appeared in that year. Eight years had elapsed since the former impression; and during that time he had ample leisure to give to his work the improvements of which he considered it susceptible. It is, however, questionable whether the additions which he then made to it have increased its interest. The garrulity and sentiments of an octogenarian are very apparent in some of the alterations; and the subdued colouring of religious feeling which prevails throughout the former editions, and forms one of the charms of the piece, is, in this impression, so much heightened, as to become almost obtrusive. For example, the interpolation, in the last chapter, immediately after Venator's recipe for colouring rods 5 is, in fact, a religious essay, filled with trite reflections and scriptural quotations; whilst the digression on monsters,0 and the introduction of the milkmaids' second song,7 which contains the only objectionable allusion in the book, are not in Walton's usual good taste.
Thinking that the work was defective in one branch of the art, Walton applied to his friend Charles Cotton, whom he had known for a great many years, to furnish a treatise on fly-fishing. Cotton promised to comply with his wishes; but he omitted to fulfil his engagement, until he was reminded, towards the end of February 1676, that the treatise was wanted for the new edition of "The
Complete Angler," which was then in the press. Little more than ten days were allowed him for the purpose, at the end of which he had completed the task. His letter to Walton, which accompanied the manuscript, was written at Beresford, on the 1oth of March 1676; and a printed copy of his treatise was returned to him, with an answer, dated at London on the a9th of the following month. Cotton, who is the Piscator of his own dialogue, observes, that Walton had lately written to say that he doubted whether he could visit hiin in the ensuing summer; but he informed Cotton in the letter just mentioned, which was written some weeks afterwards, that although he was then more than one hundred miles from him, and in the eighty-third year of his age, yet he would forget hoth, and in the next month, May, begin a pilgrimage to see him. It is therefore likely that Walton spent some weeks at Beresford, in May and June 1676; and he was possibly induced to change his mind by going there, in consequence of business having brought him to London, by which journey he was drawn much nearer to Derbyshire. The intimacy which existed between Walton and Cotton is well known to every reader of " The Complete Angler." Their literary, no less than their piscatory pursuits, were alike; and it is easy to believe that the author of the beautiful " Stanzas Irregulier" must have possessed a disposition with which Walton's perfectly harmonised. At an early period of their intimacy, Cotton designated him his " father," and styled himself his "son," a practice which was then very common between parties whose pursuits were congenial, when the younger received instructions in them from the elder, and when it was desired to give the most affectionate character to their association.
Walton frequently visited Cotton at Beresford during the spring and summer months, sometimes alone, and at others accompanied by his son or by a friend. Not long before the year 1676 Cotton built a little fishing-house on the Staffordshire side of the banks pf the Dove, where the windings of the river form a small peninsula.8
8 The state of the fishing-house was thus described by a visitor in 1894:—"Just ahove the Pike, a small wooden foot-bridge leads over the stream towards Hartshorn, in Deibyshire ; it bears the date of 1S1S, but is merely the successor of one more ancient, as is evident from Piscator's saying, 'Cross the bridge, and go down the other side.' Somewhat higher up on the Staffordshirebank, the windings of the river form a small peninsula, on which stands the far-famed fishing-house; but alas I how changed since the time when, in the words of Venator, 'it was finely wainscoted, with a marble table in the middle, and all exceeding neat.' The stone slabs which compose the floor are partly broken up, the windows are entirely destroyed, the doors decaying, and without fastenings, the roof is dilapidated, and the vane which surmounts it is rusty, and nodding to its fall. The fireplace alone remains in good preservation. Hawkins tells us that the exterior was formerly adorned with paintings, in fresco, of Cotton, Walton, and the In commemoration of their friendship Cotton caused a stone to be placed in the centre of the buildings, with the initials of his own and Walton's name conjoined in a cypher, a representation of which was introduced, agreeably to Cotton's request, in the titlepage of his part of "The Complete Angler." This stone, which no true disciple of the venerable Piscator can contemplate with indifference, was erected between Walton's last visit to Beresford, and that which he is supposed to have paid Cotton in May 1676; but he had seen and approved of it before it was deposited in its place. The fishing-house and stone are thus described by Cotton: "My house stands upon the margin of one of the finest rivers for trouts and grayling in England; I have lately built a little fishinghouse upon it, dedicated to anglers, over the door of which you will see the two first letters of my father Walton's name and mine twisted in cypher." 9 In one of Cotton's poems the fishing-house is also mentioned :—
Walton says of the beautiful scenery near the fishing-house, that "the pleasantness of the river, mountains, and meadows ahout it cannot be described, unless Sir Philip Sydney or Mr Cotton's father were again alive to do it." 1
The Viator of Cotton's dialogue is the Venator of " The Complete Angler," and opportunities are thereby afforded for introducing eulogiums on Walton's character. For instance, when Viator asks Piscator his opinion of "The Complete Angler," he says, "My opinion of Mr Walton's hook is the same with every man's that understands anything of the art of angling, that it is an excellent good one; and that the fore-mentioned gentleman understands as much of fish and fishing as any man living. But I must tell you, further, that I have the happiness to know his p'erson, and to be intimately acquainted with him; and in him to know the worthiest man, and to enjoy the best and truest friend any man ever had: nay, I shall yet acquaint you further that he gives me leave to call him father, and I hope is not yet ashamed
boy : but these are entirely cone, and nought now decorates the walls, save the names of various obscure individuals who have thought fit thus to record their having visited the spot. The steps at the entrance are covered with weeds, and the well-known keystone (which, however, appears to be in a sound state), is so overspread with moss, that the first word of the inscription is quite defaced."—GentUman s Magazine, vol.
My river still through the same channel glides,
And my poor Fishing^house, my scat's best grace,
1 Vide postca.
to own me for his adopted son." Venator replies, "In earnest, Sir, I am ravished to meet with a friend of Mr Izaac Walton's, and one that does him so much right in so good and true a character: for I must hoast to you, that I have the good fortune to know him too, and came acquainted with him much after the same manner I do with you; that he was my master, who first taught me to love angling, and then to become an angler; and to be plain with you, I am the very man deciphered in his book under the name of Venator; for he was wholly addicted to the chase, till he taught me as good, a more quiet, innocent, and less dangerous diversion." Piscator then observes, "Sir, I think myself happy in your acquaintance; and before we part shall entreat leave to embrace you. You have said enough to recommend you to my best opinion; for my father Walton will be seen twice in no man's company he does not like, and likes none but such as he believes to be very honest men, which is one of the best arguments, or at least of the best testimonies I have, that I either am, or that he thinks me one of those, seeing I have not yet found him weary of me." Viator rejoins, "You speak like a true friend, and in doing so render yourself worthy of his friendship."
To these flattering expressions Walton thus alluded in his letter to Cotton : 2—" You now see, I have returned you your very pleasant and useful discourse of the Art of Fly-fishing, printed just as it was sent me: for I have been so obedient to your desires, as to endure all the praises you have ventured to fix upon me in it. And when I have thanked you for them, as the effects of an undissembled love, then let me tell you, Sir, that I will really endeavour to live up to the character you have given of me, if there were no other reason, yet for this alone, that you that love me so well, and always think what you speak, may not, for my sake, suffer by a mistake in your judgment."
The complimentary verses prefixed to the former editions of "The Complete Angler" were augmented in the fifth, by a Latin Iambic ode from the pen of Dr James Duport, the Greek professor at Cambridge, who had contributed a similar testimony of his esteem on the publication of the Life of Herbert. Dr Zouch has inserted a very elegant translation of these verses, in his Life of Walton, from the pem of the Rev. James Tate, one of the canon residentiaries of St Paul's; and it is impossible to refrain from following his example :—
* Vide p. a18, postca.
"Hail, Walton! honoured friend of mine,
Hail! mighty Master of the Line!
Or on the flowery margin stand
Nor these alone your honours hound
Besides the " Contentation " 3 and the " Retirement," 4 which in natural pathos and moral feeling have perhaps never been excelled, Cotton addressed the following invitation to Walton to renew their piscatory sports in the ensuing May; but the year in which these verses were written is not mentioned :—
"Whilst in this cold and blust'ring clime,
Whilst from the most tempestuous nooks
1 Vide antea.
'Vide p. a19, postea.